09th Feb2016

Let’s Rate the Automaker’s Super Bowl Commercials

by Michael Chandler

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

A healthy chunk of us watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, and some of us watched for the commercials.  I watched because it involved going to a place where there was awesome brisket and hominy dip, but that’s neither here nor there.  Since this is an auto enthusiast website, let’s not discuss the game but instead talk about some commercials!  Specifically the commercials from the auto manufacturers.  This year we had commercials from Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Acura, Mini, Buick, Toyota, Audi, and FCA.  What were each of these manufacturers pushing, and who (or what) did they get to push whatever it is? LET’S FIND OUT TOGETHER!  And then let’s rate them on a scale from 1-10.  Sound good? Great!

Full Disclosure: I missed the first quarter, and was far more concerned with wolfing down food than with what was going on on the screen.  With the exception of Kia, Mini and Honda, this is the first time I’m seeing these commercials.

Let’s start with

Kia:

They’re pushing the new Optima with Christopher Walken and sock puppets!  OOO, look how shiny and not like any other mid-sized sedan it is!  Except it kinda looks like a Camry, and that interior doesn’t look THAT amazing.  But I do appreciate the dig they’re taking at everyone else.  Buying a mid-sized sedan is a lot like choosing socks: you just pick something that won’t stand out, and go on about your day.  Some options are more boring than others, but at the end of the day we’re talking about socks.  The things that keep your feet warm and dry, and comfortable in your shoes.  They don’t need to be flashy, and wacky sock guy isn’t a great guy to be.  I EXPRESS MY PERSONALITY THROUGH MY SOCKS!  ZABOW!!!  Please don’t be that guy, or be that guy and let me hurl grapefruits at you.  Either or.

And was anyone else hoping Christopher Walken was going to break out his monologue from Pulp Fiction?  It wouldn’t have been nearly as marketable, but it would’ve been the best commercial in twenty-years.

Score: 6.5

Hyundai:

They had four ads this year!

In the first one, titled The Chase, a pair of hikers (a guy and a gal) are being chased through the woods by two Grizzly Bears.  Thinking quickly, the guy speaks into his smart watch, and the 2017 Elantra fires up.  They hop in, and escape the bears.  Hooray!  But then the bears are given some dialogue, and I am suddenly overcome by the desire to burn whoever green lit that idea at the stake.  Why do I want to revive the practice usually reserved for witches?  You saw the vegan joke, right?  I rest my case.

The second ad is titled Ryanville, and features two ladies driving down a suburban street where every man they see is noted Canadian Ryan Reynolds.  He’s riding a bike.  He’s giving and receiving a traffic ticket.  He’s an entire construction crew.  He’s playing five on five football with nine other Ryan Reynoldses, one of whom seems way too aggressive for this being a simple pick up game.  I believe this to be the “evil” clone.

The women swoon and gawk, and damn near hit Ryan Reynolds the dog walker.  Thankfully for them (the world at large really), their Elantra has whatever they’re calling their collision avoidance and automatic braking system.  The world will have more Deadpool appearances, which makes this a much better world to live in.

First Date: Kevin Hart’s daughter goes on a date with a boy who may have nefarious intentions.  Kevin is reasonably concerned, so he let’s them take his Genesis 5.0.  The Genesis is equipped with Car Finder, which he uses to stalk the couple.  He’s at the movie they go to, he’s hiding in a pile of stuffed animals at the midway on the pier, and he shows up on a ladder hanging underneath what looks like an AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter.

Their final spot was titled Better, and revolves around a boy who has a seemingly unique birth defect (condition? abnormality?): he has a V8 that produces a blue light protruding from his chest.  We see him go from baby, to toddler, to elementary school (where he knows how many moons Saturn has and can play Galaga like a pro), to high school (where he ignores his friend and talks to some attractive female classmates), to college (where he burns the midnight oil in the library), to post collegiate life (where he enjoys fitness and helping the elderly).  And then we see where he works, and who he works with.  The where appears to be a Hyundai design studio, and the who are other people with THE SAME ENGINE THING ON THEIR CHESTS!  Turns out that the engine is a metaphor.  “Better is the engine that drives us,” says Paul Rudd, who did the voice over work in all of the Hyundai spots.  We then see the intrepid lad looking at a concept vehicle that he penned.  Is Hyundai better than they were before?  Definitely.  Are they better than most of their competitors?  Well, they’re better than enough of them to remain a relevant player.

Score: 7. Blame the bears and the engines, praise Kevin Hart and Ryan Reynolds.

Honda:

In the third quarter is where America was introduced to the new 2017 Honda Ridgeline, which looks like an Odyssey that had everything behind the C-pillar cut off and replaced with a truck bed.  In this ad we have a farmer transporting sheep, a handful at a time, to a pasture for grazing.  We can hear Queen’s Somebody to Love playing from the truck as the farmer unloads what has to be his twentieth load of sheep.  He drives off, and the sheep start singing the classic song.  They stop when the farmer, and three more sheep, return.  And it’s here that we find out why the sheep are singing Queen: because of the truck bed audio system that’s an option on the new Ridgeline!  I can understand how this could be a useful feature, but I’m not 100% sure I get how it went from a note in a focus group to a thing that you can get on your truck.  Anyway, the farmer drives away and the sheep begin singing again.  Then we see the truck in front of a barn, and hear a voice over talking about the truck bed audio.  The camera slides over to reveal that the farmer’s dog is delivering the lines.  After seeing this ad, I noticed the four dogs running around the room.  I felt a sudden wave of melancholy wash over me, and I went back for more brisket and chicken nuggets.

Score: 6.  Any other song, and this would’ve been scored much lower.

Acura:

Acura was pushing the 2017 NSX, something they’ve been doing for four years now.  Instead of having Jerry Seinfeld, noted Porsche fan, trying to get the first NSX (something he didn’t do in the 2012 ad, and something he didn’t do this year), they released a 30 second version of a longer commercial they released a week before!  They show the car going from a block of aluminum to a car via all the processed that are necessary to go from block of aluminum to car, with Runnin With The Devil playing in the background.  While not a bad commercial, this is another one of the many odd steps Acura has taken during this whole NSX gestation period.  Why undercut your Super Bowl commercial by releasing the minute long version a week before the game?  I demand answers!

*pounds fist on table*

*Funko POP figures fall down*

OH MY GOD NO!!!!!!!!!

Score: 7 for the extended cut, 4 for this version.  Seriously…

Mini

Several celebrities (take that with a grain of salt) hurl labels at the Minis.  Tony Hawk, Abby Wambach, Randy Johnson, T Pain, Serena Williams, a little girl, Michael Whinnet, some racing drivers, and Harvey Keitel are all here to tell you that people who defy labels define themselves.  And they also want you to buy a Mini Clubman, which I’m gonna go ahead and say don’t.  For $29,000 there are better options, ones that don’t include a pillar running through the middle of your rear window.

By the way, does anyone remember Harvey Keitel driving an NSX in Pulp Fiction?  Why can’t HE be pushing the NSX?  Why, of all things, the Mini Clubman?

Score: 7.5. Who are some of these people??

Buick

Remember when we thought Buick was going to be cool again?  While we have the Regal GS, we have to take things like the Cascada to get it.  Is it a shorter Murano Cross Cabrio?  A taller VW Eos?  Whatever it is, it’s at a wedding and it’s criminally under vandalized.  Seriously, who are these guests and why isn’t that thing filled with balloons, tissue paper, and other random crap?  *annoyed grunt*

Since it’s a wedding, there HAS to be a bouquet toss.  The bride throws the bouquet over the assembled women vying for the flowers, and one recreates an O’Dell Beckham Jr. catch.  The bystanders remark on how Beckham Jr. like her catch was, then OBJ himself says that she was out of bounds.  Adorably hilarious.  Where’s that Avista sport coupe?  MAKE IT HAPPEN PEOPLE!

Score: 5.5.  Could’ve been worse, could’ve been a lot better though.

Toyota

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!  The only exciting Prii are not even really Prii.  The entire time this commercial was playing, I was imagining running those idiots off the road.  The day America falls in love from some bumbling idiots, running aimlessly from the cops in a Prius, is the day the fiery gates of Hell open up, and fire and brimstone fall from the sky and finish ruining our shit.

Score: Words cannot express how much I hate this commercial.

Audi


New R8?  Good.  Bowie’s Starman in the background? Amazing.  A son using said R8 to reignite his former astronaut father’s interest in life?

This was the best commercial from the auto makers for this Super Bowl.  I felt all of the feels.

Score: 11.  IT’S JUST DUSTY IN HERE, OKAY?!?

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

FCA kept it all about Jeep, and it’s 75 year anniversary.  The first one talks about all the things Jeeps have done in those 75 years, and the other talks about all the things they currently do because they’re Jeeps.  No model in particular, just Jeep.  These two fall short, especially when compared to the three stellar commercials to come out of the FCA camp in years past.

Score: 8.  Not great compared to their previous entries, but stellar compared to most of the other ones.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
01st Feb2016

Magnus Racing Takes GTD Win

by Michael Chandler

Fall Enduro cover-1

Remember when Magnus Racing was just a humble outfit in a garage at Miller?  Me too, and then they won Daytona!  Then they stayed pretty much the same, just changed digs.  This year, in a new Audi R8 LMS GT3, they took their second win at the historic race.  Here’s a photo of the old Magnus 911 at a MPRA race (Miller Park Racing Association, super OG stuff) back in 2011, the year before they took their first win at Daytona.

29th Jan2016

DAYTONA STARTS TOMORROW!!!

by Michael Chandler

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OH MY GOD I’M SO EXCITED!!!! Here are two Audi R8s, a sight you will be enjoying tomorrow

07th Jan2015

A Better Alternative

by Michael Chandler

Makes & Models shop feature-6

I feel safe in assuming that you do most of your maintenance yourself if you read this site with any regularity.  There’s a garage full of tools, a family or significant other who understands why you do these things, and a host of manuals in the garage and websites bookmarked to help you keep your vehicle road worthy.  But what if you encounter a problem with your vehicle that you can’t handle yourself?  It’s not a catastrophic failure, but it’s not as simple as fetching the correct size socket out of the drawer and adjusting.  What do you do?  Go to the dealer and  get it coming and going?  Trust your pride and joy to a “specialist” shop that specializes in 47 different makes?  Oh if only there was a dealer alternative!

Makes & Models shop feature-5

We’ve featured some good shops in the past, and we still highly recommend them.  But say you’re cruising around in your GTi and it does a VW thing and stops working properly.  It still works, albeit in limp mode, and you can’t figure out what happened.  The internet has no useful answers and your friends are stumped.  What do you do?  Dealer?  Viking funeral?  Hope it goes away on its own?  No.  You limp that thing up to Layton and get it to Makes & Models.  Why? Because you’re getting factory trained techs and service without having to go to the dealership and pay those ridiculous prices.

Makes & Models shop feature

Their bread and butter is the VAG makes: Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, but they also service Mercedes-Benz and BMW vehicles.  And if you’re thinking about joining the uber-affluent set by getting a Lamborghini or Ferrari, then you’re in luck!  They already service some bulls and horseys, and they’re working on becoming a full blown Lamborghini service center.  Doing that requires acquiring all sorts of specialized tools and sending the techs off to get the necessary deutschetalian training.  However, if you prefer your mid-engine supercar to sport rings on the nose instead of livestock, you’re set.

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Not only do many a R8 come in for service, but members of the staff own them and even race an R8 LMS in NASA Utah region competition!  Technically TW Racing campaigns the R8, but if you wander in to the shop you might be able to see it tucked away in a corner of the show room.  You might even get to meet on of the drivers!  But back to your non-functional Golf for a moment.  You get it there, and the techs work their magic and voila! IT LIVES!  And for cheaper than what you budgeted for.  The more sensible amongst us would pocket the money and go about their day, but not us.  No no no, we see the massive list of companies they’re authorized dealers and installers for and suddenly that extra money is gone.  Who is on the list?

  • Akrapovic
  • 034 Motorsports
  • Global Motorsports Group
  • Integrated Engineering
  • APR
  • AWE Tuning
  • VF Engineering
  • and more

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But what if they told you that the car was toast?  OH GOD WHY???  Well you’re in luck!  They are also a dealership!  Yes, you can buy a car from them, have them service it, AND have them modify it!  It’s a one stop shop for all of your Euro needs!

Makes & Models shop feature-2

Thankfully there is an alternative to dropping your baby off at the dealership, and waiting to see how many 80 hour weeks you will need to work to pay off the bill.  It’s up in Layton, and they have a racecar hanging out in the showroom.

Makes & Models

1620 W Hill Field Road

Layton, Utah

(801) 546-2277

Makes & Models.com

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
24th Oct2014

Tresduro: NASA Utah’s 2014 Season Finale

by Michael Chandler

NASA Utah 2014 Tres Enduro CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-26

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Every year for… many years NASA Utah, and MPRA before them, have thrown an endurance race to close out the season.  Normally it’s the standard X amount of hours in a row, on a track that has the corners in the same places as the lap before.  This year things would be different.  Very different.  Not mind blowingly, life alteringly different, but still different.  There would still be an endurance race, but not all in a row.  It would run on the Outer Loop… and the East Course… and the West Course.

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That’s right baby!  Dynamic track!  Basically here’s how it would shake out: All the HPDE groups and TT would run on the Outer Loop only, while the race group and the open wheel guys would jump between all three configurations.  If you remember the Pirelli World Challenge races from a couple of months ago, then this track switching concept isn’t so foreign.  They ran the World Challenge GT races on the Outer Loop, Spec B and Miller GT Challenge on the West Course and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West guys got the East Course.  What was foreign, and I can’t stress this enough, was having the same group of competitors running three different track configurations on the same day for the same race!  Well, technically it wasn’t all the same race, but the drivers’ times in each race would be combined and whoever had the best time would be the class winner.  Speaking of which, let’s stop talking about the track thing and talk about racing!

NASA Utah 2014 Tres Enduro Open Wheel CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-5

The Open Wheel guys were in the same boat as the Race Group: three different tracks, three races, one time to decide a winner.  In Formula Troy Duffin and Steven Costello continued their season long battle, but at the end of the long day there had to be a winner.  And that winner was Troy, who completed 34 laps in the allotted time compared to Steven’s 33.  In Super Formula it was the the #11 Rodizio Grill sponsored car of Terry Biner running away with the class win, leaving Steve Burns and John LaBrie to duke it out for second.  In what can only be described as driving feats never seen since the days of Juan Manuel Fangio*, Steve Burns defeated John LaBrie!

*Not really true at all, but both John and Steve had really good drives in their races

NASA Utah 2014 Tres Enduro HPDE 3-4 TT CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-4

It was time for the TT competitors to take to the track after the Open Wheel drivers vacated it.  Their four sessions held weight because, while the season points chases were over for everyone else, this was a points event for the TT drivers.  While some people had wrapped up their season titles (more on that in another post), some people were still fighting tooth and nail for theirs.  People like Shay Campbell and James Pasquier, who pitted their Porsche 911s against some ST3 competitors and a healthy chunk of the Spec Z field.  Despite finishing in 14th, five spots behind James and scoring 5 points less than him, Shay locked up his TT3 points title!  Meanwhile, at the front of the TT3 crowd, Travis Tidball took the win.

In TT1 the guys of TW Racing put their Audi R8 LMS atop the podium, and solidified their championship.  However second place in the class was up for debate.  If you remember, Shawn Murphy ventilated the engine block in his WRX STi which sidelined it for the remainder of the season and seemingly opened the door for Smith-Burke Racing to leapfrog one of our favorite Wyomingans… Wyomingites?  Whatever, Shawn needed to hold off the C5 Corvette, so he did what any enterprising man with a willing girlfriend would do: he used her car for the last two events.  He didn’t win, but he scored JUST enough points to hold off the Data Motorsports backed Corvette to stay in second place.

NASA Utah 2014 Tres Enduro HPDE 3-4 TT CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-3

In TTE Ben Lamberson put used all 127 horsepower his Audi could muster to beat Steve Larsen, and cement his title.  TTU was missing it’s most notable competitor: the Lyfe Motorsports/Wild Schick Racing R35 GTR was in California doing some testing, which left the class wide open for Rhett Panter to win.  TT2 was won by David Bradshaw, and Josh Bennett took home the win in TTB.

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And we finally arrive at the Race Group, the other group that would take on the perils of driving three different tracks over the course of one race day.  It also had some interesting driver line-ups, including George Smith piloting a Miata with Les Long, Derek Wolthoff driving Brendon Stewart’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and…  Well, there’s no easy way to say this…

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PPPAAAAAAAUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLL MMMMIIIITTCCCCCCHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Which was driven by Matt Guiver, Todd Ainsworth, Alex Whetman and Todd Green.  That mighty team could only muster a third place finish in E3, behind Allan Anderson (who slid around Wind Up, but it’s cool because he has a Corolla so he knows what he’s doing) and David Sherman. NASA Utah 2014 Tres Enduro CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-59

In E0 we saw No Whammies (Travis Tidball) hit big money and stop atop the podium, ahead of Travis Williams in the #22 Discount Tire FR500S Mustang and Good Guy Gus Stribakos in the 888 Porsche.

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In a class by himself, literally, was the Idaho Mountain Touring Porsche 911 in E1.  Let’s take a moment to appreciate how pretty it is.  Ahhhhhhhh.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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ES.  The Big boys.  You know the Names: TW Racing, Big Bob Evans, Dandy Dan Worley, Steve “Mister” Burns and “Mister En Fuego” Brendon Stweart.  They were all fighting for the victory.  The gritty field went wheel to wheel and door to door all day! Except when Brendon broke a suspension component.  That sidelined him.  And Bob blew a tire in the last race of the day, so his day ended early too… But when they were running, they were threatening to take away podium finishes from other drivers!  In the end it came down to two teams: the TW Racing crew had adjusted their R8 LMS so Allen Turner could fully exploit it’s advantages, while Tatum Racing had the LSx powered Porsche 944 tuned to peak efficiency for Dan Worley.  Who would emerge victorious?

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In the end the Audi proved too much for the Porsche, and TW Racing took home the class and overall victory.

In the end, we all took home a victory.  Over the course of the season we saw drivers snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and overcome devastating events.  We saw camaraderie and good natured competitiveness, and most importantly: everyone at the end of the day could walk away uninjured.

And so ends the NASA season.  On behalf of me and the staff here at CAMautoMag, I would like to say thank you to Matt Guiver, Dave Kizerian and Dan McKeever for the awesome season, the track workers for the thankless and tireless jobs they do to make the racing happen, and especially to the drivers.  Everyone from the HPDE 1 drivers, all the way up to the Super Unlimited class drivers and everyone in between.  We do this because we have the same passion as you guys, and since we can’t get out there and drive with you guys (yet!) the next best thing is to come out shoot some photos and say some nice words about what you’re doing out there.

We’ll be at the Awards Banquet on November 22, where we’re looking forward to seeing everyone!  We will also have things for you to purchase if you so choose.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

 

29th May2014

NASA Utah Round 3

by Michael Chandler

 

NASA Utah Round 3 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (90 of 148)

Good news: there wasn’t a monsoon at Miller Motorsports Park over Memorial Day Weekend!  Bad news: … Yeah.  The good weather and holiday weekend brought out a healthy sized field.  The TT class had twenty-one competitors in seven sub-classes, with TT3 fielding nine competitors!

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And in TT3 we had a very close battle for the third spot on the podium!  Chad Hess took his Porsche 911 to the final podium spot by a mere 1/1000 of a second over Shay Chappell’s Porsche 911.  Finishing ahead of the tight battle was Josh Miller in second and Travis Tidball in first.

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Scott Corsetti edged out Greg Valdez for the win, with Vincent McAllister rounding out the group.

TT1 saw the debut of a new chassis from T W Racing: Among the field of familiar cars was an Audi R8 LMS, which posted the fastest time of the TT field, and took home the TT1 win.  Two seconds behind the Audi was the Corvette of Smith-Burke Racing, and two seconds behind them was the #667 Subaru of Shawn Murphy.  Is this a sign of things to come?  Will we soon see other IMSA GTD class cars competing in TT?  I, for one, welcome our new IMSA overloards and may long should they reign.

Ahem

TTE was a two man race between Ben Lamberson’s Audi and Jeb Brown’s Subaru.  Ben bested Jeb by two and a half seconds.  TTC, TTB, and TTU were all one man affairs; with Richard Thiessens in TTB, Rod Kujaczynski in TTC, and Wild Schick Racing in TTU.

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There were two open wheel races this weekend, and this time nobody spun like a top!  The field even lined up, most likely unintentionally, for a very cool photo.  And the racing was a good watch as well, specifically Chris Taylor going through the top of The Attitudes.  He had no quarrel with getting right on top of the curbing!  Unfortunately his placed in third for both Formula races.  The finishing orders didn’t change at all for the classes in either race.  Troy Duffin took first in Formula and Steven Costello took second.  In Super Formula, Terry Biner beat out Ian Lacy both times; however, Ian posted a quicker fast lap than Terry in both races.  Also of note: Ian ran a little over half the laps in each race.

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The Lightning group had some close racing, but not necessarily for the Spec Z field.  Arthur Golebiowski ran away from Tom Kaminski and Paul House.  Arthur also ran away from the rest of the competitors in the run group, putting an eight second gap between himself and the next fastest driver.  The next fastest driver was Blake Troester in GTS3, who took the class win over Gus Stribakos who retired from the race with four laps to go.

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Spec Miata was a chess match, with Chris Bond looking to make a move on McKay Snow for most of the race.  When an opportunity presented itself Chris took it, and put a 1.3 second gap between himself and the young Snow.  David Sherman finished in third.

PTE was interesting.  Allan Anderson and Todd Ainsworth finished second and third respectively, but Todd Green ran away with the win, and even got his nose in the Spec Miata pack. He was right up there with McKay and Chris.

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While Spec Z and PTE had the largest margins of victory of the group, 944 Spec had the slimmest.  Samuel Kapp and Otto Silva might as well have had their bumpers tied together the whole race.  Samuel beat out Otto by 0.137 seconds.  Placing third, a respectable 1.491 seconds behind Mr. Kapp was Greg Troester.

American Iron and PTB only had one competitor each, which is somewhat sad.  Bill Noblitt and his PTB Boxster need a playmate, and Mike Mieke’s Firebird looks so lonely out there.  Someone grab a Fox Body and get out there with Mike, and someone else get cracking on another PTB entry!

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After the Lightning came the Thunder, which saw John Potter (Detroit) take the Magnus Racing Porsche out against David Donner in GTSU.  David was a good sport as John hung a 28.277 second gap on him.

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GTS5 had Alan Wilson, the guy who designed the track at Miller Motorsports Park, defeating Michael Stevenson while also showcasing a new track design on the hood of his yellow Porsche.

Darrell Troester (the third Troester for those keeping score at home) was competing against people in other classes, because he was the lone competitor in GTS4.

The three car field of ST1 featured three cars powered by big, american V8s.  Unfortunately for Bob Evans and Dan Worley one of those cars was the Smith-Burke Corvette, which walked away from them at a brisk pace.  Bob put the #88 Snickers/EA Sports Ford Fusion in second and Dan retired five laps in.

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Bad Luck Brendon had some bad luck in ST2, but not catastrophically bad!  It was more of a puzzling bad.  On lap 11 his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution just stopped running.  No fires, no wheels flying off, no hitting of tire barriers and armco.  It just stopped.  After it was towed to the paddock, and after the race, the car started up and ran again.  Initial speculation was that something over heated, and the leisurely tow off the track allowed it to cool off enough to start working again.  Either way, he took home the class win because he was the only one in the class.

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Super Touring 3, aka the Mustaing And Occasional Others class, was deep as usual.  In a class dominated by Ford products, a pair of Corvettes managed to take two fo the top three spots.  Cary Wilson put his black and green Corvette atop the podium, while Travis Tidball parked his blue Corvette in third.  Alex Whetman, through sheer grit, cunning and over boosting, put the Focus of Doom in second.

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Super Unlimited was interesting not only because Dave Dingman’s Miata was in the class, and not because of Bob Blizzard’s Ford Ranger looking thing.  The class was won by James Miller in the chop top C4 Corvette, with George Smith in second and Bob Blizzard sliding his way into third.  Wild Shick Racing, which posted the fastest single lap time of the group, finished last after contact with the Smith-Burke Racing Corvette left Kyle with a down right rear tire.  I’ve heard the story from Kyle, and I’d like to hear the Smith-Burke side.

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It was another good weekend for race fans and organizers.  Hopefully the June event will be an even better one.  If you’d like to come out and race, then go ahead and register!  If you just want to come out and watch some racing and meet some drivers, then that’s a great option as well.  Either way, we look forward to another race weekend and seeing you guys out there!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
07th Feb2014

Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour: How to Spend Your Saturday

by Michael Chandler

CAM goes to COTA 5 19 13 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-19

 

Guys, gals, pets, I’ve found how you will be spending your Saturday afternoon.  You, like me, will be watching the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 hour race.  Why?  Because where, outside of Forza or Gran Turismo, will you see Fiat 500 Abarths pairing off against SLS AMG GT3s?  Focus Global Touring Cars (tube chassis, V8 powered, lots of awesome) hunting down a Ginetta G50?  Exactly.

There are six classes:

Class A is comprised of current GT3 spec cars.  AF Corse (essentially Ferrari’s sports car team) will be challenging last year’s winner Erebus Motorsports and their pair of SLS AMG GT3s for the class win.

Class B is ten 911 GT3 Cup cars ganging up on two R8s and two Lamborghini Gallardos.  This class has the best team name running in it: Racing Incident, which is running a Gallardo LP520.

Class C is three GT4 class cars: a Ginetta G50, a Lotus Exige Cup R and an Exige S.  Tiny?  Yes.  Awesome?  The Ginetta handles that, and then some.

Class D is 3001cc engines and up, and resembles something you’d see at a track day… in Europe: two SEAT Leon Supercopas, an E46 M3 GTR, an E92 M3, a Daytona Sportscar Coupe (an Australian Shelby Daytona Coupe), and a WRX STi thrown in for good measure.  This will be a fun one to watch.

Class E is full of Fiat 500 Abarth’s run by the same team.  Three adorable little Fiats will try to avoid being killed by everything else on track.  This will be the most adorable class to watch.

Class I is the afore mentioned Global Touring Car spec Focuses… Foci…  Focus?  Whatever.  It’s a lot like Class E, except more fearsome than adorable.

The Race starts in a little less than twenty-four hours from now (at the time this was being written) and you can/will watch the live stream on the race’s website, which features commentary from Radio Le Mans.

UPDATE 1:51PM MST: HQ Holdens race happening for the next hour http://www.bathurst12hour.com.au/live/ Old Holdens!

Words and photo by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
21st May2013

CAM Goes To Cota Day 3

by Michael Chandler

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No time for shenanigans, time to get to the…  Hey!  Thats an Aston Martin Rapide…  So pretty. The parking lot held some intense vehicles, but more on those later.

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We were here for the racing!  Not the parking lot finds, and we managed to get quite a bit in on our last day.  We caught some of the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTS race.  You know, the one with the GT3 cars in it now.  We saw a lap or two from ground level, but then decided to get a better vantage point.

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We (Cherp, James and myself) climbed the Tower.  Well, we rode the elevator up because it was a lot of stairs.  We got some great shots up there of the GT/GTS guys and the Porsche Cup races.  We also got some touristy ones.

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These guys were running hard, but in the end Madison Snow took the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy race, while James Sofronas won the GT class in his GMG R8 and Andy Lee put his Best IT Camaro on top of the podium in the GTS class.

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But then it was time for the main events!  The first race almost saw Mark Winterbottom put his Pepsi Max Crew/FPR Falcon atop the podium, but a bad pit stop relegated him to a disappointing 7th.  Holden locked out the top six spots, with Coulthard, Lowndes and Whincup on the podium in the order.  Rick Kelly in his Jack Daniel’s Racing Nissan placed 9th and Tim Slade put the Heavy Haulage Australia Racing Mercedes in 20th.  Then we had an hour to kill between the races, so we wandered…

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And wound up at the Start/Finish line.  We consumed energy drinks and water, purchased souvenirs, and then heard 28 cars bounce off the rev limiters before launching up the hill.

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And what a hill it is.  It’s 150 feet of rise from the bottom of the hill to the top.  That makes it the most elevation change of any F1 circuit on the schedule.  See?  You learned something!  We then moved down the front straight, to turn 20.  The final turn of the circuit.

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We saw plenty of action.

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And also some inaction…

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And then the checkered flew.  The big news?  A MERCEDES FINISHED BETTER THAN 20TH!!!  Tim Slade and the HHA Racing Mercedes came in 17th!  Meanwhile Rick Kelly was yet again the highest placing Nissan (8th), and Mark “Frosty” Winterbottom put his Flacon in 6th.  Holden took places 1-5, with the podium consisting of Jamie Whincup, Fabian Coulthard and Shane van Ginsbergen.

And that was it for the races, but the parking lots at CotA held a few gems themselves.  There was the McLaren on Saturday, then there was this SRT Viper that was being loaded in to a hauler.

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And these!

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Holdens!  We ran across two fellows who import Utes, then convert them to left hand drive by sticking Pontiac GTO or G8 dashes in them.  The best part is they then can be legally registered!

After ogling the cars, we packed up and made our way in to Austin for dinner, then shenanigans.  The next morning we returned our faithful chariot to the rental agency, hopped on the plane and made our way home.  It was an epic trip for the lot of us.  Nobody races like the V8 Supercar guys.

Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler, Nicholas Cherpeski and James Dahl.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.